With ratings continuing to play havoc for UK Asian TV broadcasters, the future for some of these channels is looking much more bleak than previously forecast.
With Star Plus tightening its grip at the top in UK ratings, the likes of Colors, Hum TV and Sony Entertainment Television have gathered pace. Surprisingly, viewers have also started turning to secondary channels like Sony SAB TV and Zing for alternative content. Where the top channels are highlighted on a weekly basis on BizAsiaLive.com , we now turn our attention to five of the weakest channels currently in he UK market.
For a long time, News18 has been running as the least watched South Asian news channel in the UK. Despite, a shift in its programming, the channel continues to struggle to make any headway. At times, the channel has registered a near zero rating, which is embarrassing for a channel backed by giants like CNN and Network18. Its rival, Times Now was also delivering shockingly low figures but it recently got off from BARB, to avoid further humiliation. News18 has had a tricky time since its launch and its future still remains questionable.
ARY Family, one of the first Pakistani entertainment channels to launch in the UK in its previous avatar, has surprisingly disappointed in UK ratings. The channel relays content from ARY Digital, which is one of the most watched channels back home. However, it has unable to replicate the same success in the UK. Prior to ARY Family’s launch in December, its predecessor, ARY Digital was available as just a subscription channel in the UK, so it was not reporting BARB data. Expectations for the re-launch of the channel as ARY Family, were humongous but it has since failed to live up to expectations. While, signs of growth are there, it has unable to match the numbers of market leader, Hum TV and Geo TV.
The Pakistani entertainment channel, Urdu1 Europe has not had it easy in the UK market. It had potential when it first arrived with UK viewers expecting a differentiated product. However, the initial excitement soon waned, which led to viewing figures causing concern for the broadcaster. When the channel disappeared earlier this year from the UK market, the industry had speculated that it had shutdown its UK operations. However, it soon returned with the same output, blaming the outage on a transmission failure. It is now eyeing on UK produced local content, whether it works in the channel’s favour, remains to be seen.
Touted as the first Indian food channel in the UK, Living Foodz was expected to launch with big numbers. It was hoping to replicate the success that was witnessed by rival food channel, Hum Masala but so far the numbers have been far from encouraging. Its barely been a month since its UK launch, so there is still a chance that the channel may pick up. However, latest weekly reach figures put the channel at 45,000 viewers. Since its launch in March, it has yet to cross the 100,000 weekly reach mark. It also has a wider appeal than its predecessor, ZEE Punjabi, which it replaced on the Sky platform. Expectations from Living Foodz are still high, so lets see if this ZEE promoted channel can turn around the fortunes of the popular network.
Independent UK Asian TV channel, TV99 suffered a dip in its ratings after it faced issues broadcasting big Bollywood film titles, which were held by other channels. TV 99 had remained consistent with a reach of over 100,000 viewers regularly. However, it fell to one of its lowest ratings with a reach of just 35,000 viewers in latest data. Its viewership has been fluctuating for a number of weeks but still seems to be performing better than some of the bigger Asian TV networks. Whether it can sustain itself in this constantly changing market, remains to be seen.